As a local business, it’s natural to struggle with the idea of overcoming your competitors.

Take, for example, the owner of a local restaurant on the “main drag” of a medium-sized metro area. Even if the restaurant has the best food and prices around, it’s safe to assume that diners will have other options in the same area.

Now you start to see why local SEO is so important.

You can’t expect to become the king of your industry with local SEO alone, but it can’t hurt. High search rankings, combined with positive reviews, can do wonders for growing your business among local clientele.

With that in mind, let’s discuss five things you need to know about local SEO:

1. It Starts with Business Listings

The foundation for local SEO is a business listing on all the most popular local service sites.

For example, Google My Business is an absolute must, as it allows you to provide local customers with a variety of information on your business, while also standing out in the search engines.

As your business grows and changes, you might need to alter your listings. So, get into the habit of checking these several times per year.

2. Accuracy is a Must

Inaccurate information is one of the fastest ways to kill your local business.

Take, for instance, a local shop with high-quality handmade goods. People love everything the shop offers – from the price to the products – but when they search online, they get an old address, contact number, and hours of operation.

Local SEO

How does this look to prospective customers? Worse yet, how many customers will find a competitor after being run in circles with inaccurate data?

Double-check every last bit of information associated with your online listings. And if you find something wrong – even the smallest of inaccuracies – make an immediate correction. It only takes a few seconds, and it can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

3. Positive Reviews are Important

While you can’t force your customers to leave a review, you can give them a push in the right direction.

Restaurants can ask for a review in exchange for a discount on a future meal. Plumbing and HVAC companies can send out a post-service survey, complete with language about sharing a review online (maybe for something in return).

If you provide high-quality products and service while also treating your customers well, positive reviews will come. Sure, you may receive negative feedback now and again, but your good marks will outweigh them.

4. Share Locally Inspired Content

Sticking with the restaurant example, create a blog post about the local farms in the area where you source your food. Or share sample recipes based on the weather, such as pumpkin-inspired drinks during the fall season.

Your goal with this type of content is two-fold: to share valuable information with your audience, and to boost your local search rankings.

If you’re successful in doing both these things, you’ll be happy with the results of your local SEO strategy.

5. Focus on Local Link Building

Buying and begging for links won’t do you any good. Fly too close to the sun, and Google could hit you with a penalty that buries your website for the foreseeable future.

However, you can still earn links to your website, such as by focusing on local link building.

An example of this is acquiring links from local organizations, sponsors, and partners.

You don’t have to pay for these links and risk the consequences. Instead, share your website and company information with others and let them decide on what to do next.

Local SEO is both a short and long-term game.

On the short side, it doesn’t take long to create and publish business listings. At the very least it you’ll get a head start in attracting local customers.

On the long side of things, local SEO takes time. It takes time for the search engines to trust your content. It takes time for your links to grab hold.

By following this advice, you’re able to implement a local SEO strategy designed to drive traffic to your website and business to your storefront.

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